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Blu-ray players say goodbye to analog video

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Blu-ray Analog SunsetMany people have questioned why the new Blu-ray-based PlayStation 4 and Xbox One lack traditional outputs like component video, either built in or as add-ons. It mystified me as well. I figured that eliminating the DACs was a cost-cutting measure. Then I remembered AACS, Blu-ray’s digital encryption scheme, and the ‘Analog Sunset’, which states that any Blu-ray player manufactured after 2013 will not include analog video output of any kind. Why? Because restricting the availability of analog video helps protect distribution of HD content.

So what happens if your Blu-ray player dies and you have a legacy display with no HDMI input? Or what if you had that Blu-ray player connected to an older, but expensive, high-end video processor that you just can’t part with? Don’t worry, there are still solutions until you are ready to join the world of digital-only, for the moment at least.

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For example, you can still buy an HDMI-to-DVI or HDMI-to-Component converter like those shown here (click on the images and you’ll be taken to Amazon). While they may not be elegant, they should tide you over until your next upgrade. As I’m sure some astute reader will point out, getting rid of the analog video output does nothing to stop Blu-ray piracy, which happens entirely in the ripping realm. The most effective method of protecting Blu-ray would have been to simply not make BD-ROM drives in the first place. But since that cat is out of the bag, the only thing left are  attempts to protect live television PPV programming from being captured, an effort that has proven to be in vain thanks to defeated by CableCARD devices and hacked TiVOs. So why did the rule stick around? Likely because it gives the manufacturers someone to blame while they save $8-10 per player by getting rid of analog video.

As you save up for that swank new gear, should the worst strike, solutions like these converters will get you through the Analog Sunset. If analog is important to you, consider buying a backup player or two before they’re all gone. A word of warning: Any player made after 2010 has the component output limited to standard-def 480p, and the same goes for VGA from a computer, so plan accordingly.

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